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Constitution of Tunisia (2014)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

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3Preamble

4In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

5We, the representatives of the Tunisian people, members of the National Constituent Assembly,

6Taking pride in the struggle of our people to gain independence and build the state, to free ourselves from tyranny, to affirm our free will and to achieve the objectives of the revolution for freedom and dignity, the revolution of December 17, 2010 through January 14, 2011, with loyalty to the blood of our virtuous martyrs, to the sacrifices of Tunisian men and women over the course of generations, and breaking with injustice, inequity, and corruption.

7Expressing our people’s commitment to the teachings of Islam, to their spirit of openness and tolerance, to human values and the highest principles of universal human rights, inspired by the heritage of our civilization, accumulated over the travails of our history, from our enlightened reformist movements that are based on the foundations of our Islamic-Arab identity and on the gains of human civilization, and adhering to the national gains achieved by our people;

8With a view to building a participatory, democratic, republican system, in the framework of a civil state founded on the law and on the sovereignty of the people, exercised through the peaceful alternation of power through free elections. A political system founded on the principle of the separation and balance of powers, which guarantees the freedom of association in conformity with the principles of pluralism, an impartial administration, and good governance, which are the foundations of political competition, a system that guarantees respect for human rights and freedoms, independence of the judiciary, equality of rights and duties between all citizens, male and female, and equality between all regions;

9Based on the elevated status of humankind and desirous of consolidating our cultural and civilizational affiliation to the Arab and Muslim nation, building on our national unity that is based on citizenship, fraternity, solidarity, and social justice, committed to strengthening Maghreb unity as a step towards achieving Arab unity, towards complementarity with the Muslim and African peoples, and towards cooperation with all the peoples of the world, desirous of supporting all victims of injustice, wherever they are, defending the peoples’ right to determine their own destiny, to supporting all just liberation movements, at the forefront of which is the movement for the liberation of Palestine; and opposing all forms of colonization and of racism;

10Being aware of the necessity of contributing to the preservation of a healthy environment that guarantees the sustainability of our natural resources and bequeathing a secure life to future generations, realizing the will of the people to be the makers of their own history, believing in science, work, and creativity as noble human values, seeking always to be pioneers, aspiring to contribute to the development of civilization, on the basis of the independence of national decision-making, world peace, and human solidarity;

11We, in the name of the Tunisian people, with the help of God, draft this Constitution.

12Title One. General Principles

13ARTICLE 1. SOVEREIGNTY, RELIGION, LANGUAGE, GOVERNMENT SYSTEM

14Tunisia is a free, independent, sovereign state; its religion is Islam, its language Arabic, and its system is republican.

15This article might not be amended.

16ARTICLE 2. CIVIL STATE

17Tunisia is a civil state based on citizenship, the will of the people, and the supremacy of law.

18This article might not be amended.

19ARTICLE 3. POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY

20The people are sovereign and the source of authority, which is exercised through the peoples’ representatives and by referendum.

21ARTICLE 4. FLAT, ANTHEM, MOTTO

22The flag of the Tunisian Republic is red and bears in its midst a white circle in which is inscribed a five-pointed star surrounded by a red crescent, as provided for by law.

23The national anthem of the Tunisian Republic is “Humat Al-Hima” (Defenders of the Homeland), in accordance with the law.

24The motto of the Tunisian Republic of is: freedom, dignity, justice, and order.

25ARTICLE 5. ARAB MAGHREB

26The Republic of Tunisia is part of the Arab Maghreb and works towards achieving its unity and takes all measures to ensure its realization.

27ARTICLE 6. FREEDOM OF BELIEF, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGIOUS PRACTICE, NEUTRALITY OF MOSQUES

28The state is the guardian of religion. It guarantees freedom of conscience and belief, the free exercise of religious practices and the neutrality of mosques and places of worship from all partisan instrumentalisation.

29The state undertakes to disseminate the values of moderation and tolerance and the protection of the sacred, and the prohibition of all violations thereof. It undertakes equally to prohibit and fight against calls for Takfir and the incitement of violence and hatred.

30ARTICLE 7. FAMILY AS THE BASIS OF SOCIETY

31The family is the nucleus of society and the state shall protect it.

32ARTICLE 8. YOUTH

33Youth are an active force in building the nation.

34The state seeks to provide the necessary conditions for developing the capacities of youth and realizing their potential, supports them to assume responsibility, and strives to extend and generalize their participation in social, economic, cultural and political development.

35ARTICLE 9. UNITY OF THE HOMELAND

36Protecting the unity and integrity of the homeland is a sacred duty for all citizens. National service is a duty according to the regulations and conditions established by the law.

37ARTICLE 10. PAYMENT, COLLECTION AND USE OF TAXES

38Paying taxes and contributing towards public expenditure are obligations, through a fair and equitable system. The state shall put in place the necessary mechanisms for the collection of taxes, and to combat tax evasion and fraud.

39The state shall ensure the proper use of public funds and take the necessary measures to spend it according to the priorities of the national economy, and prevents corruption and all that can threaten national resources and sovereignty.

40ARTICLE 11. DECLARATION OF ASSETS

41All those who assume the roles of President of the Republic, Head of Government, member of the Council of Ministers, or member of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, or member of any of the independent constitutional bodies or any senior public position, must declare their assets according to the provisions of the law.

42ARTICLE 12. SOCIAL JUSTICE

43The state shall seek to achieve social justice, sustainable development and balance between regions based on development indicators and the principle of positive discrimination.

44The state shall seek to exploit natural resources in the most efficient way.

45ARTICLE 13. NATURAL RESOURCES

46Natural resources belong to the people of Tunisia. The state exercises sovereignty over them in the name of the people. Investment contracts related to these resources shall be presented to the competent committee in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People. The agreements concluded shall be submitted to the Assembly for approval.

47ARTICLE 14. DECENTRALISATION

48The state commits to strengthen decentralization and to apply it throughout the country, within the framework of the unity of the state.

49ARTICLE 15. PUBLIC SERVICES

50Public administration is at the service of the citizens and the common good. It is organized and operates in accordance with the principles of impartiality, equality and the continuity of public services, and in conformity with the rules of transparency, integrity, efficiency and accountability.

51ARTICLE 16. IMPARTIALITY OF EDUCATION

52The state guarantees the impartiality of educational institutions from all partisan instrumentalization.

53ARTICLE 17. ARMED FORCES, SECURITY FORCES

54Only the state may establish armed forces and internal security forces, in conformity with the law and in the service of the public interest.

55ARTICLE 18. MANDATE OF THE NATIONAL ARMY

56The national army is a republican army. It is an armed military force based on discipline that is composed and structurally organized in accordance with the law and charged with responsibility to defend the nation, its independence and its territorial integrity. It is required to remain completely impartial. The national army supports the civil authorities in accordance with the provisions set out in law.

57ARTICLE 19. MANDATE OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY FORCES

58The national security forces are republican; they are responsible for maintaining security and public order, ensuring the protection of individuals, institutions, and property, and ensuring the enforcement of the law while ensuring that freedoms are respected, with complete impartiality.

59ARTICLE 20. INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS

60International agreements approved and ratified by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People have a status superior to that of laws and inferior to that of the Constitution.

61Title Two. Rights and Freedoms

62ARTICLE 21. EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW

63All citizens, male and female, have equal rights and duties, and are equal before the law without any discrimination.

64The state guarantees freedoms and individual and collective rights to all citizens, and provides all citizens the conditions for a dignified life.

65ARTICLE 22. RIGHT TO LIFE

66The right to life is sacred and cannot be prejudiced except in exceptional cases regulated by law.

67ARTICLE 23. HUMAN DIGNITY, PHYSICAL INTEGRITY

68The state protects human dignity and physical integrity, and prohibits mental and physical torture. Crimes of torture are not subject to any statute of limitations.

69ARTICLE 24. RIGHT TO PRIVACY

70The state protects the right to privacy and the inviolability of the home, and the confidentiality of correspondence, communications, and personal information.

71Every citizen has the right to choose their place of residence, to free movement within the country, and the right to leave the country.

72ARTICLE 25. NATIONALITY

73No citizen shall be deprived of their nationality, exiled, extradited or prevented from returning to their country.

74ARTICLE 26. POLITICAL ASYLUM

75The right to political asylum shall be guaranteed as prescribed by law. It is prohibited to surrender persons who have been granted political asylum.

76ARTICLE 27. PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

77A defendant shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial in which he/she is granted all guarantees necessary for his/her defence throughout all the phases of prosecution and trial.

78ARTICLE 28. INDIVIDUAL PUNISHMENTS

79Punishments are individual and are not to be imposed unless by virtue of a legal provision issued prior to the occurrence of the punishable act, except in the case of a provision more favourable to the defendant.

80ARTICLE 29. DUE PROCESS

81No person may be arrested or detained unless apprehended during the commission of a crime or on the basis of a judicial order.

82The detained person must be immediately informed of their rights and the charges under which they are being held. The detainee has the right to be represented by a lawyer. The periods of arrest and detention are to be defined by law.

83ARTICLE 30. HUMANE TREATMENT IN DETENTION

84Every prisoner shall have the right to humane treatment that preserves their dignity.

85In carrying out a punishment involving the deprivation of liberty, the state shall take into account the interests of the family and shall seek the rehabilitation and re-integration of the prisoner into society.

86ARTICLE 31. FREEDOM OF OPINION, EXPRESSION, MEDIA AND PUBLICATION

87Freedom of opinion, thought, expression, information and publication shall be guaranteed.

88These freedoms shall not be subject to prior censorship.

89ARTICLE 32. ACCESS TO INFORMATION

90The state guarantees the right to information and the right of access to information and communication networks.

91ARTICLE 33. ACADEMIC FREEDOM, FREEDOM OF SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

92Academic freedoms and freedom of scientific research shall be guaranteed.

93The state shall provide the necessary resources for the development of scientific and technological research.

94ARTICLE 34. RIGHT TO ELECTIONS, TO VOTE

95The rights to election, voting, and candidacy are guaranteed, in accordance with the law. The state seeks to guarantee women’s representation in elected bodies.

96ARTICLE 35. RIGHT TO ESTABLISH POLITICAL PARTIES, UNIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS

97The freedom to establish political parties, unions, and associations is guaranteed.

98In their internal charters and activities, political parties, unions and associations must respect the provisions of the Constitution, the law, financial transparency and the rejection of violence.

99ARTICLE 36. RIGHT TO FORM UNIONS

100The right to join and form unions is guaranteed, including the right to strike.

101This right does not apply to the national army.

102The right to strike does not apply to the forces of internal security and to customs officers.

103ARTICLE 37. RIGHT TO ASSEMBLY

104The right to assembly and peaceful demonstration is guaranteed.

105ARTICLE 38. HEALTH

106Health is a right for every human being.

107The state shall guarantee preventative health care and treatment for every citizen and provide the means necessary to ensure the safety and quality of health services.

108The state shall ensure free health care for those without means and those with limited income. It shall guarantee the right to social assistance in accordance with the law.

109ARTICLE 39. EDUCATION

110Education shall be mandatory up to the age of sixteen years.

111The state guarantees the right to free public education at all levels and ensures provisions of the necessary resources to achieve a high quality of education, teaching, and training. It shall also work to consolidate the Arab-Muslim identity and national belonging in the young generations, and to strengthen, promote and generalize the use of the Arabic language and to openness to foreign languages, human civilizations and diffusion of the culture of human rights.

112ARTICLE 40. WORK

113Work is a right for every citizen, male and female. The state shall take the necessary measures to guarantee work on the basis of competence and fairness.

114All citizens, male and female, shall have the right to decent working conditions and to a fair wage.

115ARTICLE 41. PROPERTY

116The right to property shall be guaranteed, and it shall not be interfered with except in accordance with circumstances and with protections established by the law.

117Intellectual property is guaranteed.

118ARTICLE 42. CULTURE

119The right to culture is guaranteed.

120The freedom of creative expression is guaranteed. The state encourages cultural creativity and supports the strengthening of national culture, its diversity and renewal, in promoting the values of tolerance, rejection of violence, openness to different cultures and dialogue between civilizations.

121The state shall protect cultural heritage and guarantees it for future generations.

122ARTICLE 43. SPORTS

123The state shall promote sports and shall work to provide the facilities necessary for the exercise of physical and leisure activities.

124ARTICLE 44. WATER

125The right to water shall be guaranteed.

126The conservation and rational use of water is a duty of the state and of society.

127ARTICLE 45. ENVIRONMENT

128The state guarantees the right to a healthy and balanced environment and the right to participate in the protection of the climate.

129The state shall provide the necessary means to eradicate pollution of the environment.

130ARTICLE 46. WOMEN’S RIGHTS

131The state commits to protect women’s accrued rights and work to strengthen and develop those rights.

132The state guarantees the equality of opportunities between women and men to have access to all levels of responsibility in all domains.

133The state works to attain parity between women and men in elected Assemblies.

134The state shall take all necessary measures in order to eradicate violence against women.

135ARTICLE 47. CHILDREN

136Children are guaranteed the rights to dignity, health, care and education from their parents and the state.

137The state must provide all types of protection to all children without discrimination and in accordance with their best interest.

138ARTICLE 48. PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

139The state shall protect persons with disabilities from all forms of discrimination.

140Every disabled citizen shall have the right to benefit, according to the nature of the disability, from all measures that will ensure their full integration into society, and the state shall take all necessary measures to achieve this.

141ARTICLE 49. LIMITATIONS CLAUSE

142The limitations that can be imposed on the exercise of the rights and freedoms guaranteed in this Constitution will be established by law, without compromising their essence. Any such limitations can only be put in place for reasons necessary to a civil and democratic state and with the aim of protecting the rights of others, or based on the requirements of public order, national defence, public health or public morals, and provided there is proportionality between these restrictions and the objective sought.

143Judicial authorities ensure that rights and freedoms are protected from all violations.

144There can be no amendment to the Constitution that undermines the human rights and freedoms guaranteed in this Constitution.

145Title Three. Legislative Authority

146ARTICLE 50. ASSEMBLY OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE

147The people exercise legislative power through their representatives in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People or through referendum.

148ARTICLE 51. HEADQUARTERS

149The seat of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall be located in the Capital, Tunis. Nevertheless, in exceptional circumstances, the Assembly may sit in any other place within the Republic.

150ARTICLE 52. INDEPENDENCE, RULES OF PROCEDURE, BUDGET

151The Assembly of the Representatives of the People enjoys financial and administrative independence within the framework of the state budget.

152The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall determine its rules of procedure and ratify them by an absolute majority of the members of the Assembly.

153The state shall put at the disposition of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People the necessary human and material resources to allow for members of the Assembly to fulfill their obligations.

154ARTICLE 53. CANDIDACY

155Every Tunisian voter who has acquired Tunisian nationality at least ten years prior and is no younger than twenty three years of age on the day of candidacy is eligible to be elected to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, provided that they are not prohibited from holding such a position as specified by the law.

156ARTICLE 54. ELIGIBILITY TO VOTE

157Every Tunisian citizen aged eighteen years shall be deemed a voter in accordance with the conditions established by the election law.

158ARTICLE 55. ELECTIONS

159Members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall be elected by universal, free, direct, secret, fair and transparent voting, in accordance with the election law.

160The election law guarantees the voting and representation rights to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People for Tunisians resident overseas.

161ARTICLE 56. TERM

162The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall be elected for a term of five years, during the last sixty days of the parliamentary term.

163In the event of inability to hold elections as a result of imminent danger, the term of the Assembly shall be extended according to the provisions of a law.

164ARTICLE 57. ORDINARY SESSIONS

165The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall hold an ordinary session each year starting in October and ending in July. The first session of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall begin within fifteen days following the announcement of the definitive results of the legislative elections, at the request of the Speaker of the outgoing Assembly.

166In the event that the beginning of the first session of the term of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People coincides with its recess, an extraordinary session shall be held in order to proceed to a vote of confidence in the government.

167During its recess, the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall convene in an extraordinary session upon the request of the President of the Republic, the Head of Government, or one-third of its members, to examine a specific agenda.

168ARTICLE 58. OATH

169Every member in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall, upon assuming their functions, swear the following oath:

170“I swear, by God Almighty, that I will diligently serve the nation, that I will respect the provisions of the Constitution, and that I will bear full allegiance to Tunisia.”

171ARTICLE 59. ELECTION OF SPEAKER, STANDING AND SPECIAL COMMITTEES, INVESTIGATION COMMITTEES

172The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall in its first session elect a Speaker from amongst its members.

173The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall form permanent and special committees. Their composition and the sharing of responsibilities within the committees shall be determined on the basis of proportional representation.

174The Assembly of the Representatives of the People may form committees of enquiry. All authorities shall assist such committees of enquiry in undertaking their tasks.

175ARTICLE 60. PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION

176The opposition is an essential component of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People. It shall enjoy the rights that enable it to undertake its parliamentary duties and is guaranteed an adequate and effective representation in all bodies of the Assembly, as well as in its internal and external activities.

177The opposition is assigned the chair of the Finance Committee, and rapporteur of the External Relations Committee.

178It has the right to establish and head a committee of enquiry annually. The opposition’s duties include active and constructive participation in parliamentary work.

179ARTICLE 61. VOTING, NON-DELEGATION

180Voting in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People is personal and may not be delegated.

181ARTICLE 62. LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVE

182Legislative initiative is carried out with legislative propositions made by no less than ten members, or with draft laws submitted by the President of the Republic, or by the Head of Government.

183The Head of the Government is the only authority entitled to present draft laws related to the ratification of treaties and draft budget laws.

184Draft laws presented by the President or the Head of Government shall be given priority.

185ARTICLE 63. PREJUDICE TO THE STATE’S FINANCIAL BALANCE

186Legislative propositions and amendments presented by members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People are not admissible if they affect the financial balances regulated in the finance law.

187ARTICLE 64. RATIFICATION OF ORDINARY AND ORGANIC LAWS

188The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall adopt draft organic laws by an absolute majority of all members, and ordinary draft laws by a majority of members who are present, provided that such a majority represents no less than one-third of the members of the Assembly.

189No draft organic law shall be presented for debate to the plenary session of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People until at least fifteen days have passed since its submission to the competent parliamentary committee.

190ARTICLE 65. ORDINARY AND ORGANIC LAWS

191Laws relating to the following areas are deemed ordinary laws:

192Creation of public institutions and facilities and the provisions regulating their work;

193Nationality;

194Civil and commercial obligations;

195Procedures before various types of courts;

196Definition of felonies and misdemeanours and the corresponding punishments applicable, in addition to violations resulting in a penalty involving deprivation of freedom;

197General pardon;

198Regulation of taxation rules, percentages and procedures for collection thereof;

199Regulations on issuance of currency;

200Loans and financial obligations of the state;

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  • Theoretical/Philosophical
  • Historical Commentary
  • Constitutional Interpretation
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  • separation of powers
  • rules
  • Rufus King
  • slave
  • slave labor
  • slavery
  • slave trade
  • Revolution
  • republicanism
  • presidency
  • Oliver Ellsworth
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  • representation
  • slaves
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  • William Jackson
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  • three-fifths clause
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  • 3/5 clause
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